Discovered in 1992 by the former Argentinean actor, Luis de los Santos, the Condor Agate comes from a difficult-to-reach 7,000-foot elevated plateau near San Rafael, in Mendoza Province, Argentina. The site can only be reached by horse back.
The agate’s bright reds and yellows are made even more vivid by their contrasting bands of cooler, more-subtle hues. This agate was named after the large Condor birds that were flying over Luis de los Santos during the trip that he discovered the agate.
How did the moon form? The leading theory is that the Moon resulted from a glancing collision between the young Earth and an object the size of Mars. The above image series is based on several mathematical simulations of the Moon’s origin:
The Moon’s history begins with a collision between a young Earth (larger object) and a Mars-sized planet.
10 minutes: The now-molten mantle layers (gray) of the two planets are mixing together.
1 hour: The iron cores (orange) are melding together – Most of this iron will remain with Earth.
2 hours: Parts of the mantle are spinning off into a swarm of debris.
22 hours: Pieces of debris revolve around Earth, slowly gathering together.
1 week: The growing Moon’s gravity pulls in the remaining debris.
Meet the cherry blossom stone from Japan - one of the most striking natural rock formations in the world.
by Bec Crew
So-called because when you crack them open, their internal cross-sections look like tiny golden-pink flowers, cherry blossom stones (sakura ishi in Japanese) get their beautiful patterns from mica, which is a commonly found silicate mineral known for its shiny, light-reflecting surface.
These flower patterns weren’t always made of mica. They started their existence as a complex matrix of six prism-shaped crystal deposits of a magnesium-iron-aluminium composite called cordierite, radiating out from a single dumbbell-shaped crystal made from a magnesium-aluminium-silicate composite called indialite in the centre.
Hosted inside a fine-grained type of rock called a hornfels - formed underground around 100 million years ago by the intense heat of molten lava - cherry blossom stones underwent a second significant metamorphosis in their geological lifespan when they were exposed to a type of hot water called hydrothermal fluids…